Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Amateur Video From Sherwood Invitational 2011

My friend Amy was kind enough to take this video and post it:

Sherwood Invitational 2011

I did an exhibition of my "Battle for the Beat" program today at the Sherwood Invitational.

I am battling a cold and some pain in my Lshoulder/neck/upper arm, but I felt reasonably okay.  I was scheduled to skate at 3:30.  At 3 p.m. Kelli took me out with another of her skaters to warm us up.  After a 10-12 minute warmup I went to get my skates on etc., then checked in with the ice monitor and waited for my warmup (I was after novice ladies).

I went out for my warmup and did a lap or so of slaloms and stroking, then went and did all my jumps and then a spin.  It was so-so, so I went and did another that was pretty good.  Ran some chunks of the program and then a couple more spins and then I was out of time (I came off at the 1 minute warmup since I had the warmup all to myself).  I was pretty nervous at the start of the warmup and the ice felt really slick to me but it got better.

All through the warmup the ladies (mostly) of "Team Gordon" were yelling their support -- it was really very heartwarming and inspiring.  I felt like Sally Field ("you like me!  you really like me!").  I was wearing my TFSC club jacket all through the warmup as my costume has NO insulation.  So when I went off at the one minute warmup and Kelli was giving me The Talk, I took off my jacket -- and Team Gordon were like "woo woo!"  It cracked me up and let me tell you, nothing relaxes you better than laughter.  I'm really blessed to have such amazing friends.

So finally they called me out to skate and I skated out and got into my starting pose... the music started and off I went! First spin, kick, kick, power shift/BXO sequence all went pretty well.  Came out of the 2nd BXO a bit straight though in spite of the work we have done, but went into the half flip okay... and somehow biffed it.  I didn't fall, it just didn't quite happen and I'm not sure why yet.  Went on and did the lunge and into the spin and the spin went well. 

Onward through the punch-punch sequence (crowd really liked that!) and then the toe-waltz (grr), and the footwork around the circle and the waltz-spincow sequence.  At this point I realized the hardest stuff is behind and I'm almost done, which was a good feeling.  Into the traveling RFI3s and the final spin (not as good as the previous one, but oh well) and the final pose and I was done!  Did my bows and skated off a happy, happy camper.

Came off the ice and gave Kelli a BIG hug, and said thanks to various friends that were there -- my PDX skating homegirls, my cousin and her BF who came to watch for the first time ever, my friend Stacey and my skate buddy Lisa who's just moved to PDX from Tucson. 

What an amazing day!


Practice Ice

I had practice ice at 7 a.m.  It was not actually that crowded!  Only like 7 or 8.  They had opened up some mid-day practice ice later so that's probably why it wasn't crowded.

Kelli and I worked through some points in the program and she gave me some feedback on my jumps, and we worked the spins a fair amount.

After my 30 minutes were up I rested a bit and relaxed, then had my ice monitor shift from 8 -10:15 or so.  I got to see a lot of friends so it was really awesome. 

I'm going to shower, change into my costume, grab some lunch and head back to the rink.  My warmup is at 3:30.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Club Practice

I skated the Sherwood coffee club for practice ice today.... good decision.  OMG to feel that Sherwood ice under my blades again!  It was sooooo nice.  Such great ice! And not at all crowded either :-)

I worked on program chunks and ran my program with music once; it went okay.  Worked a bunch on the 2nd half as well as running the ice placement changes in the 1st half.  It seems like I am not getting as far down-ice now but that is pretty much okay.

I'm heading back for club ice at 5:10 but I will try to take it easy.  Then practice ice at 7 tomorrow a.m. and skating at 3:30.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8 & Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- Lynne caught me when I was just warming these up.  Did one set that was actually not bad; did another layout and that wasn't too bad either.  The only real fault I would find is that I'm still cutting the circle in a bit on the L foot, and I'm still having some upper body control issues on the L side when I pass the arms forward.  On the other hand my tracing was rather better.
  • BO8 -- Hmm.  My LBO was not very good today.  Not sure why that was, but I was kind of up on my toe and had problems getting back to center, I was either going flat or cutting it in short.  Grr. I need to get these back to where they were just a couple of weeks ago.
  • Waltz-8 -- hmph.  A little better in some respects, but the L side is still weaker.  I'm a little forward on my LFO3 right after the turn and I'm still not stepping around enough on the step forward.  Still my weakest figure.
  • Serpentines -- we just had a couple of minutes on these.  I'm still having problems keeping my L shoulder back on the R foot at the change of edge, it keeps creeping forward on me and blocking me.  Grr.
After my lesson I spent some time on 3s to center and BI8.

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Spins & Program Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • Spins -- I wanted to spend some time on these because they've been so bad.  JJ had me try to concentrate first on just one thing I need to fix, so I chose keeping the free leg back until the hook.  After I kind of managed that he let me add the next thing, getting the arms/upper body squared off.  Some success with this, and I did one spin that was decent and several that were at least better.
  • Program prep -- Did a runthrough and it was reasonably okay.  We talked through some issues I'm having with ice position in the first half of the program; I need to go a little deeper into the corner so that I can do my two BXOs there without having to try to do the last one in almost a straight line. Ran the program again and I fell in the lunge... it took me a second to realize, duh, I'm doing a runthrough, have to get up and go on.  Continued on and fell (or almost feel, not sure now) going into the traveling 3s because I was just off balance after the salchow.  Oh well.
That's all we had time for.  I skate at 3:30 on Saturday at Sherwood.  Kelli is going to be at my practice ice and then put me on the ice also.

I realized I am really fortunate to have coaches who work together for and with me.  I feel like I'm incredibly blessed to have JJ, Lynne, Kelli and Sonya make it possible for me to compete in Phoenix and Portland and have support both places.  It's really awesome.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Spin Day

I managed to skate for an hour at Chandler coffee club today, so I used the time for freestyle, not patch.

I ran my program once with music... it went okay.  Some folks can't or won't get out of the way so I had to improvise a bit and was a bit distracted.  Still I got most of the elements in more or less in the right place and finished more or less on time.

Spins were really horrible today, like totally not happening.  I'm so frustrated!  I can't believe after EIGHT YEARS of skating I still can't really spin.  Geez!  I don't know what to do.  I will talk with JJ about it after the competition.  Grrr.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I skated the 11 a.m. FS at Chandler today.  Worked on program chunks, ran the whole thing with music once, and ran just the second half with music also.  Also spent some quality time on toe loop and spins. Nothing horribly exciting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for 45 minutes today (darn work schedule!).  I had a pretty good skate.  My first set of FO8s were not bad; I then moved down toward the Zamboni end of the rink and found that there's quite a 'valley' in the ice there so that was a bit challenging... losing speed going out from the center, then gaining it coming back, lol.  Also worked on waltz-8, 3s to center and serpentines.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toe Loop, Spins, Program

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Once again I didn't sleep well, about 2 hrs of sleep.

Today's lesson:
  • Toe loop -- I showed JJ what I'd been working on as far as fixing the toe loop and we worked it a bit.  The main problem is that I'm not getting a continuous flow when I try to do it correctly... I tend to stop in the middle :-).
  • Spins -- these were pretty bad today.  Very frustrating since they were so much better on Tuesday.
  • Program -- we ran my program with music -- it had been a while.. eep!  We decided to add one crossover after the FO3/weight shift so that I'd have some more speed in the first part.  That helped a lot.  In general in the week I have before the competition JJ wants me to concentrate on the 2nd half of the program.  I agree -- it's a lot weaker than the first half.  I have also been trying to look up more -- it's so hard!  And I'm so inconsistent it probably is funny to watch.
I only skated the one session as I was just wiped out.  Afterward I talked with JJ a bit about what comes next; for the remainder of the year I want to spend about 2/3 time on the Bronze moves and skating them faster and with more power (more aggressive) and the other 3rd will be maintenance/improvement of jumps and spins.  JJ suggested we video my program once a month and see how it improves (hopefully) as I skate faster.  Seems like a good idea to me.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FO8, Waltz-8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We were on the South Pole since they are doing maintenance on the North Pole rink.  Don't like the ice much on the SP side but oh well.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- acceptable.  I need to improve my tracing; I have noticed that when I'm trying to follow my first print I tend to keep it to my left which means my 2nd print was about 2 blade lengths inside of my first one (on the R).  I need to work on this.
  • Waltz-8 -- just eh.  The step forward is still where I'm lacking on these.
  • 3s to center -- the R side is really coming along but the L side is lagging hugely.  On the L side I'm tending to force it around, and I'm also tending to lean off the edge a bit before the turn which doesn't help.   I also probably need to start working on the back choctaw (step forward) I will need for this since it's hard (BI to FO, eep).

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Early Practice

I couldn't sleep at all last night, so I finally did what I'd often considered doing... when 4:30 a.m. came around and I still couldn't sleep I just got up, threw on my skate gear and went to the rink...(Chandler).

The schedule showed ice time starting at 5:15, so I was hoping the building would be open at 5.  When I arrived, though, there was no one there and the building was locked.  I waited.. and at 5:20 one of the coaches showed up and she had a key.  Yay!  So I got on the ice by 5:30.

I skated for an hour and actually had a pretty good practice.  For the first 15 minutes it was just two of us, later on that was 6 or 7.  I thought I would be stiff but I actually felt pretty loose, which was nice.  I worked a little on program chunks, and then spent quality time on spins and toe loop.  I actually made some progress on the toe loop -- I am trying to un-cheat it.  I am getting it to come around, finally, but I'm not jumping well and I'm seeing a 3-turn on the ice with the R foot so I'm late also.  Still it's better than a toe waltz I think.  Spins were improved and I got several that felt pretty good even though they were only about 2 or 2.5 revs.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Patch Practice

I managed a mere 30 minutes of ice time today during the Chandler coffee club.  I worked on FO8, waltz-8 and 3s to center.

Waltz-8 is actually improving... I needed to pay more attention to my body position once I step forward to the FO.  Today I really concentrated on pinning that free shoulder back and it really helps!  3s to center... my LFO3 is SO bad.  I'm constantly surprised that it's so bad when it's so much better in my FS blades.  Grr.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eeyore Skate

I skated the 5:30 p.m. FS at Chandler.  It was definitely a challenging skate.  I was unmotivated, uninspired, tired, cranky, and my L shoulder/neck is hurting.  It took me almost 45 minutes before I felt warmed up.

Still, I'm really glad I went.  I have been off the ice way too much this last week and I have a competition coming up!  Time to quit being a wimp and suck it up...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FO8, Waltz-8, 3s To Center

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had not skated patch for a week and a day!  Ulp.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- Lynne came up on me as I was still warming up :-) so we went through a couple layouts of FO8.  The first was pretty bad.  The second was better.  I keep thinking that these will get more automatic, but I'm not there yet.  The main observation for today was that I really, really, really need to fell that pinch in the free shoulder when I keep the free hand back as I start the edge.  If I do that my chances of a good edge are much, much higher -- if not my free side almost always comes around on me.
  • Waltz-8 -- this hasn't gotten too much worse from a bit of neglect.  The weak points are still the step forward on the L side and the 3s could definitely be better.  I also reminded myself to stop helicoptering my arms on the BO edge on the L side and that helped a lot.
  • 3s to center -- the R side is really improving here!  L side.. not so much, although it is getting better slowly, it's still mostly 3-turn-and-put-my-foot-down.  Gaaah.  Practice, practice, practice.
I discussed the Preliminary test with Lynne briefly afterward.  Of the elements on the test (offhand I think it's all 4 edges, FO8, FI8, and waltz-8) the weakest is definitely the waltz-8, followed by the FO8.  I would like to test sometime in the foreseeable future (lol!) so I really need to work on this stuff.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday Night Zoo

I skated for an hour at the Friday night public at Gilbert.  Usually I avoid the weekend publics as they are mostly a teenage/tween meat market, lol!  But my cousin and his kids were going so I thought it would be fun.

I did work on spins and waltz jumps a little.  Got a couple of okay spins but it was too distracting to do well. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Back In The Saddle

I skated at Gilbert this morning.  There had been a bad thunderstorm last night and apparently it whacked out the controller for the lights in the building, so when I got there (about 7:20) there were no lights on at all. I called JJ and he said to wait 'til he got there.  About 7:40 they were able to get the lights on (yay!) and then the guy brought the Zamboni out and did a quick pass to fix some nasty condensation bumps (yay!).  So I got on the ice about 7:50 and skated for a half hour or so.

I spent part of my lesson time talking with JJ about my skate at Cactus.  While I feel I did okay with my actual skate, I am disappointed that I didn't place better and I think that in general I need to start addressing some basics in my skating -- speed, flow, confidence and posture.  These are longstanding issues and fixing them will take time.  JJ agreed, but also felt the need to point out that (due to work schedule the last 3 months) I've not had the ice time that I've usually had, and in particular that I had had a lot more ice time prior to Cactus last year.  Anyway we will circle back to this after the Sherwood competition at the end of the month.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- we worked on these just a little, trying to descrape the harder side.  I think it's primarily a fear thing.   JJ suggested I practice just doing the cross and hold, and also that I need to think about bringing my feet close together before beginning the BXO so that I can get a better weight shift.
  • FXO -- we worked on the weaker side here too.  I have been starting to practice these more so they are not quite as awkward, but they are not nearly as smooth as the other side and I don't get any real underpush.
That was pretty much all we had time for.  Since I didn't get much warmup time and I hadn't skated FS since Cactus it was just as well to keep it simple.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Back At It

I skated Chandler coffee club today for my lesson with Lynne.  I had to reschedule from the usual time (Wed.) due to a dentist appt.

I spent a little time briefing Lynne on the figures competition and my results there.  Then we went on with our lesson:
  • FO8 -- I swear I will be working these things for the rest of my life.  My observation for today was a reiteration of one Kelli made on Sunday -- I really need to bring the free foot in promptly after the push on the L side (I do it on the right!).  
  • 3s to center -- these are slowly improving.  Lynne reminded me on the R foot that I need to keep the shoulder and hip back after the turn and keep the free foot close.  On the L side the main correction was that I need to rise up to the rocker more quickly and then be sure to bend the knee again after the turn.
  • serpentines -- these are getting better.  Lynne said that the main thing now is that I will need to start pushing harder so that I actually can get around the rest of the circle.  The actual change of edge has come along pretty well.

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